The week of Avalon saw a number of major announcements across the aerospace and defence sectors, with major capability showcases and announcements supporting the development of a robust, competitive and sustainable Australian defence industrial base.
These announcements include:
Boeing and DST announce partnership ushering in new-era for Australian air combat and industry capabilities
A model of the Boeing Airpower Teaming System was unveiled at the Australian International Airshow by Minister Pyne and Australia’s Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Leo Davies, AO, CSC. As a research and development activity, the Australian government and Boeing will produce a concept demonstrator called the Loyal Wingman – Advanced Development Program that will provide key learnings toward the production of the Boeing Airpower Teaming System.
Ministers Pyne and Ciobo said the research and development opportunity was a further demonstration of the Australian government’s collaborative and maturing relationship with Australia’s defence industry as well as international recognition of the nation's strength and capabilities.
Minister Pyne said this was a major milestone for Australia's agenda to develop a competitive and sustainable defence industry, with high-end industrial, manufacturing, research and development capabilities.
"This will be Boeing’s first unmanned aircraft designed and engineered in Australia and represents the company’s largest investment of its kind outside of the United States," he said.
The Boeing Airpower Teaming System is expected to:
- Provide fighter-like performance, measuring 38-feet long (11.7 metres) and able to fly more than 2,000 nautical miles;
- Integrate sensor packages onboard to support intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions and electronic warfare; and
- Use artificial intelligence to fly independently or in support of manned aircraft while maintaining safe distance between other aircraft.
Minister Ciobo said that Boeing will seek to team with large, medium and small Australian businesses and partner with research organisations, including universities and the Defence Science and Technology Group.
"The development and demonstration of this air vehicle will create around 100 new high-technology jobs in aerospace engineering and design in Australia, as well as wider job opportunities across the supply chain," Minister Ciobo said.
Northrop Grumman sign AIC Deed with Commonwealth
Minister for Defence Industry Steven Ciobo and Warren King, chairman of Northrop Grumman Australia’s advisory board, signed the company’s first AIC deed during a ceremony at the Avalon airshow.
Northrop Grumman’s AIC deed establishes a framework to deliver real opportunities for Australian industry in major Defence programs, in particular the MQ-4C Triton program with the Royal Australian Air Force. The company is committed to working with government to develop the highly-skilled workforce required to build a sustainable, sovereign industrial base.
Ed Graziano, director of MQ-4C Triton international programs at Northrop Grumman, told Defence Connect, "Northrop Grumman is proud to contribute to building an enduring aerospace ecosystem in Australia as part of our Australian industry capability efforts."
Defence has committed to expand research activities with global prime Northrop Grumman:
Defence, Science and Technology Group and Northrop Grumman Australia have committed to continued collaboration and partnerships to support the implementation of the 2016 Defence White Paper and the government's key industry development objectives.
Ministers Pyne and Ciobo welcomed the announcement of continued collaboration, with Minister Pyne saying, "The alliance will enhance the partnership between the two organisations with the addition of key research such as space, autonomous systems and cyber security."
As part of the agreement, Defence will leverage the experience of Northrop Grumman in secure communications, space capabilities and unmanned systems, like the MQ-4C Triton.
Another win for EOS remote weapons stations:
Australian-based EOS, in partnership with Elbit Systems, has developed a turret mounting a 30mm cannon, a 7.62 mm co-axial machine gun and two anti-armour missiles under armoured protection.
Minister Pyne said this latest development and successful collaboration is an example of Australia's growing defence industry capabilities: "EOS is a fantastic Australian success story, producing advanced remote weapons systems and sensors for export and use by the ADF and our friends and allies."
The turret is set to be initially produced in Canberra, commencing in late-2019 and sustaining 10 jobs, while a permanent home for turret construction is currently being located, with options including Queensland and South Australia.
Australian industry continues to benefit from participating in the global F-35 program:
In yet another win for Australian industry, ministers Pyne and Ciobo announced the construction of a $24 million Engine Test Cell upgrade facility at RAAF Base Amberley. TAE Aerospace will benefit from the contract, with Minister Pyne saying, "Defence contracted TAE Aerospace, a 100 per cent Australian owned company, who has now taken possession of the site and commenced work on the upgraded facility, which will be able to cope with the increased thrust of the new F135 engine."
Minister Ciobo congratulated TAE Aerospace, saying, "This is a terrific example of the strength of Australia's defence industry, which has already won over $1.3 billion in production contracts as part of the global F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program."
RUAG Australia also reached a major milestone in its participation in the global F-35 program, following the delivery of the company's 35,000th component part for the F-35.
Minister Pyne said, "RUAG Australia is the sole global source of the F-35 program uplock actuator system and, in achieving this milestone, has confirmed its precision manufacturing and process solutions capabilities."
These announcements also saw Lockheed Martin Australia and the Commonwealth sign heads of agreement sovereign sustainment contracts to ensure the effective, long-term sustainment of the RAAF's F-35 capability.
Minister Pyne said the agreement provides improved certainty and clarity to Australia, by pre-agreeing the intellectual property, technical data and software contract provisions with Lockheed Martin Australia and the Lockheed Martin Corporation.
"This creates an environment where Defence – should it decide to enter into new contracts with different companies for various services such as training – will be able to seek the intellectual property, technical data and software it needs through the United States F-35 Joint Program Office and Lockheed Martin," Minister Pyne said.
Minister Ciobo added, "The heads of agreement will minimise the time and effort taken by the Australian government and Lockheed Martin in establishing any Australian sovereign sustainment contracts with local industry."
TAE Aerospace sets sights on US expansion:
In another win for Queensland-based TAE Aerospace, ministers Pyne and Ciobo congratulated the Australian company on becoming the world's largest TPE331 turboprop engine maintenance provider following the completion of two acquisitions in the US.
"The expansion of TAE Aerospace in the US is a direct demonstration that the government's defence investment and defence industry policy are having a positive effect," Minister Pyne said.
Following the acquisitions, TAE Aerospace will employ around 320 people, working in Brisbane, Adelaide, Williamtown and Melbourne in Australia, and Phoenix, Kansas City, San Antonio and Anchorage in the US.
Minister Ciobo reinforced the comments made by Minister Pyne saying the expansion was a significant strategic move for an Australian-owned business, which will result in increased defence export opportunities for the company.